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View Full Version : Best polish for a nitro finished guitar


Azfarrier
02-28-2010, 12:57 AM
Just wondering what your thought are. I just got my first nitro finished guitar and am afraid to touch it with anything. I've always used Dunlop 65 for my other guitars but have been told that it's not good for the nitro finishes. I looked on Dunlop's website but they don't really have a product description let alone saying that it's nitro safe. Thanks in advance for the help.

Long2Play
02-28-2010, 01:02 AM
I used Dunlop 65 all the time on Nitro when I was in retail and it worked fine. Grosh Guitars uses Liquid Turtle Wax spray in the shop. It is safe and works great.

masayako
02-28-2010, 01:09 AM
http://www.virtuosopolish.com/

/end thread.

TwoTubMan
02-28-2010, 01:16 AM
Virtuoso. The only thing I will use.

Avoid Stew-Mac's Preservation Polish like the plague. It will destroy your finish and anything else it gets on.

Ryan Fullerton
02-28-2010, 01:19 AM
I've used Gibson's "Luthier's Choice" polish and fretboard conditioner. Never on anything vintage, but, definitely used enough on newer guitars I own. Seems to work very well but it can be expensive as you only get 1.5 ounces per bottle you purchase.

KK Jale
02-28-2010, 07:48 AM
Not so much a vote for Virtuoso... more a command :-)

The polish is great for frequent use. The cleaner is supernaturally incredible on nitro and one gentle session a year will get rid of ALL sweat haze and filth and muckiness in a way that no other product on the market will.

Like masayako said, /end thread.

Azfarrier
02-28-2010, 09:03 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. It sounds like Virtuoso is what I've ben looking for.

dspellman
02-28-2010, 10:18 AM
Just wondering what your thought are. I just got my first nitro finished guitar and am afraid to touch it with anything.

Oferpetesake...nitrocellulose lacquer is a CAR finish (well it was until car makers got wise). You're not going to kill it with a polish!

Here's a clue: Before Gibson started putting their label on tiny bottles of what amounts to Pledge, Gibson recommended cleaning their guitars with naptha and protecting them with good old carnauba paste wax (like Johnson's Paste Wax, in the tin). And no, you don't get waxy buildup and no, you don't affect the finish in any way and no, you don't affect the ability of the guitar or the finish to do anything that it wasn't doing before you waxed it. The wax also helps protect the metal parts from sweat corrosion, etc.

Virtuoso products are fine if you would rather spend the money, but they don't do anything any better than the above materials. Not even a little bit. No paint manufacturer on the planet will tell you that they do, sorry.

I've got guitars dating from 1939 that have been doing very well without Virtuoso, thank you.

BTW -- one other thing that I'd recommend. Buy a VCI for each guitar case. These are Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors, and they run about $8-9. Change them out once a year or so. They emit a bit of a vapor that condenses on metal parts and leaves a film a few molecules thick (no, you can't see it or feel it) that helps protect them from corrosion. Won't affect the finish at all. But your strings will last longer and your hardware won't be developing those little pits of corrosion that eventually turn into chrome and gold flake-offs, etc. Folks have used them with guns and tools for years in a LOT harsher environments than your guitar case. Highly recommended: http://www.theruststore.com/VCI-C12.aspx?UserID=5778294&SessionID=17IormwB1iDPUDIj1K3N

Best cleaning rags? Soft cotton diapers.

jpage
02-28-2010, 10:30 AM
dspellman, you mention naptha to clean--is there a readily available brand name product that you know of that will do the job?

Dillow4092
02-28-2010, 10:47 AM
http://www.virtuosopolish.com/

/end thread.


I second it. Awesome stuff!

dspellman
02-28-2010, 01:39 PM
dspellman, you mention naptha to clean--is there a readily available brand name product that you know of that will do the job?

Naptha is standard lighter fluid. You can also get it at any hardware store, less than $4 per quart. Put some in a one-ounce flip top squeeze bottle from REI and you'll have refills for as long as you have guitars. A one-lb can of Johnson paste wax for around $6-8 will last forever and won't build up. Virtuoso Cleaner and Polish (a bottle of each) will run about $20.

Azfarrier
02-28-2010, 07:08 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys. I went with the Virtuoso and I really like the result. Dspellman was right the products were $10 each. Maybe lighter fluid and Johnson wax will do just as well I don't know and don't plan on finding out. I'm always surprised when people will spend thousands on a guitar and then try to save $20 on its care. Doesn't make sense to me but if it works for someone else more power to you.

AllenMance
02-28-2010, 09:02 PM
I've never found anything better than Martin Guitar Polish. If it's good enough for my pre war D-45, it's good enough for anything! I polish all of my vintage electric and acoustics with Martin, have for years.

Hope this helps,

Allen

dspellman
02-28-2010, 11:11 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys. I went with the Virtuoso and I really like the result. Dspellman was right the products were $10 each. Maybe lighter fluid and Johnson wax will do just as well I don't know and don't plan on finding out. I'm always surprised when people will spend thousands on a guitar and then try to save $20 on its care. Doesn't make sense to me but if it works for someone else more power to you.

Not so much that I'm trying to save $20 on guitar care. I've got close to 50 guitars at last count, some of them worth silly money to collectors. I've had some of them since 1967. I've taken care of them as the folks at Martin and Gibson taught me to when I was working in a music store selling them back in the late '60's. They're in great shape.

The boys at Virtuoso guitars started selling guitars in 1995. I think the polish products have been around since 2000 or 2001? You asked what the "best product for a nitro finished guitar" was. I told you.

Sometimes we discover problems with what seemed like a bright idea at the time a while down the road. It took a while for people to realize that pickguards on some guitars broke down (essentially rotted) and released gases that not only clouded the finish (a pretty common occurrence, particularly for guitars that remained in their cases for long periods of time) but could also severely corrode metal pickup covers and even the pickups themselves (see the blog entry from one tech's experience with a Gibson):

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b149/dspellman/Picture1-2.png

It took a while for people to realize that sweat entering the coils of an open-coil pickup could cause it to fail; that tiny pinholes in the coating of the wire could lead to corrosion and the growth of crystals that could actually pierce the coating on a second wire and short out the pickup. It took a while for Gibson to realize that the cherry stain it used in its early guitars was UV sensitive and would fade. It took a while for people to realize that nitrocellulose lacquer would rot -- that it would break down into sulfuric and nitric acids (two of the primary components of its manufacture) and discolor, check and flake off. It took a while for people to realize that certain kinds of rubber reacted with Nitro to cause it to flow and even come off the guitar completely. It took a while for Gibson to realize that the case innerds would react with and even embed in nitrocellulose lacquer, changing the color of white guitars.

You're barking up the wrong tree, buddy, criticizing someone for saving $20 on guitar care products. I'm simply pointing out what you asked; what the best polish for a nitro finished guitar is. You've never had a nitro finished guitar. I've had them a very long time. Forty-three years with excellent results is enough of a "while" for me. Meanwhile, you've taken the word of some folks who've used it for at most a few years and you're turning around and extolling its virtues while sniffing at my mention of what the prices are after you've used it for fifteen minutes. I always love to see folks pay big bucks for a tiny bottle of Pledge (Gibson's product). PT Barnum would be proud.

The best you can hope for is that your $20 didn't buy you a problem that will show up in a "while." Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances.

While you're at it, you should probably send some money to the Fret Doctor as well. Even though Gibson and Martin have recommended mineral oil and boiled linseed oil for fretboards on their guitars for a jillion years, he thinks he has a better idea (the old one wasn't broken, BTW). He thinks that it's better that his stuff gets absorbed a micron or two deeper into the board. No one on the planet has been able to confirm that it makes a bit of difference, but he's got yahoos handing him money and swearing by it nonetheless. You might as well go the extra mile. If you've got the money, someone out there is willing to take it from you.

Tone Loco
02-28-2010, 11:25 PM
Naptha is standard lighter fluid. You can also get it at any hardware store, less than $4 per quart. Put some in a one-ounce flip top squeeze bottle from REI and you'll have refills for as long as you have guitars.
Interesting. I've used ronson lighter fluid to clean strings and even get gunk off of tolex so I know its a good solvent, but never thought to use it on guitar haze. I'll have to give that a try. I have a 53 L4C that has an area with lot of that stuff and I just sort of rub on it now and then with my thumb, seems to work but its kinda hard on the thumb too..

tltag

dspellman
03-01-2010, 12:13 AM
Interesting. I've used ronson lighter fluid to clean strings and even get gunk off of tolex so I know its a good solvent, but never thought to use it on guitar haze. I'll have to give that a try. I have a 53 L4C that has an area with lot of that stuff and I just sort of rub on it now and then with my thumb, seems to work but its kinda hard on the thumb too..

My very first guitar was an ES-335 12-string ('67) that had been abused a bit. The owner originally bought it to do Byrds stuff and then decided to pull the octave strings off and use it as a standard ES-335. He eventually traded it in for something else (don't remember what, now) and it languished in the used bin for a while and the owner was actually going to trash it. Sold it to me for $75, but wouldn't let me take it out of the store until I was done paying for it (he was cheap, I was broke and even $75 was significant money in those days).

The guitar was covered with gunk including bubble gum and who knows what else, and it had a ding or two (a notable one on the side where the headstock meets the rest of the neck). Naptha helped get all that off, and naptha also helps get old wax off the guitar if you need to do that. Try it out in an inconspicuous place first, of course <G>. Here's the guitar now, missing one E string (the case is gibson, but was essentially cardboard and has fallen apart). This guitar went to Vietnam with me and has been around the world at least twice since then. It's been played like a sumgun, has ultralow action and an arrow-straight neck. There's some mild vertical checking that really isn't visible in these shots. All original.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b149/dspellman/IMG_5889.jpghttp://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b149/dspellman/IMG_5888.jpg

dspellman
03-01-2010, 12:41 AM
I have a 53 L4C that has an area with lot of that stuff

Oooh, nice! The old L4C, that is, not the "stuff." I have a '49 (I think) or '50 ES-175 that's nowhere near as nice; one of the old single-pickup P90 versions. It has little collector value at this point, though. This was another pull from the trash bin (literally, in this case) and was a freebie. Someone had sanded it completely down to bare wood when I found it and there was a 1" x 3" hole in the side where the output jack used to be. No hardware, no pickup (eventually found the pickup for it from the guy who'd owned it, but the hardware was long gone), but have the original case, of all things. I had the hole repaired in '77 and the guitar was refinished at the same time in the same burst as the 12-string, above. The guy did a nice job, but lacking a pickup for it at the time, we decided to go with a DiMarzio humbucker. A great player, though there's some significant fretwear at this point. The finish (nitro) on that one's had 33 years of seasoning now, but it's still excellent. I'm sort of proud of the fact that it was saved from the landfill and has had a lot of years as a nice-sounding guitar...

spence
03-01-2010, 08:12 AM
Buy some Meguiars #9 Swirl Remover and thank me later........

tsfullmer
06-20-2011, 12:02 PM
Redland Music Products has a line of cleaners, waxes and lemon oils that was specifically designed to be safe on vintage guitar finishes. They contain no silicone, solvents, or detergents. Even the lemon oil has had the citric acid extracted.

Use the lemon oil to soften up the grime then use the cleaner to wipe it clean. Works great.

www.redlandmusic.com

tbonesullivan
06-20-2011, 12:24 PM
Naptha is good, but kinda flammable. I use the Gibson Pump Polish, and have been pleased with the results. It seems to be good at getting rid of hazing, and also helped really bring the shine back to the pickguard on my Heritage H-535. It also leaves the guitar looking "cleaned" but not "waxed". Also, it has been specifically formulated for nitro finishes.

I'm not knocking the virtuoso stuff, but I don't see what makes it radically better than the other treatments out there. I also use the "preservation polish" from Stew-mac, and while some complain about the smell, I have never complained about the results, which are just awesome. It's a great cleaner, and doesn't leave any kind of coating on the guitar to attract dirt and such.

MBreinin
06-20-2011, 12:50 PM
Maybe lighter fluid and Johnson wax will do just as well I don't know and don't plan on finding out. I'm always surprised when people will spend thousands on a guitar and then try to save $20 on its care. Doesn't make sense to me but if it works for someone else more power to you.

Always amazes me when someone worries about polishing guitars and treats them like furniture. Play it, wipe it off, let it age.

Mike

The Golden Boy
06-20-2011, 12:59 PM
I used to love the old Martin polish- after they stopped making that- I used the Gibson stuff for a while... I'm at the end of my last bottle.

rmconner80
06-20-2011, 01:14 PM
The virtuoso stuff is great - but it's literally a polish. The cleaner and polish are like machine polishes - i.e. they have grit and are for leveling the surface by subracting material. I need that once a year, tops. The rest of the year I just need to clean the sweat and any residue from the rehearsal or gig off the guitar. I try to use just a clean rag but usually I need some type of light solvent other than water, for which I use the Gibson polish. I guess naptha would be better but I just never bought any.

nodata2000
06-20-2011, 01:48 PM
Always amazes me when someone worries about polishing guitars and treats them like furniture. Play it, wipe it off, let it age.

Mike

:agree

shadco
06-20-2011, 04:50 PM
Smiths Pro formula Polish

SackvilleDan
06-20-2011, 05:52 PM
My very first guitar was an ES-335 12-string ('67) that had been abused a bit. The owner originally bought it to do Byrds stuff and then decided to pull the octave strings off and use it as a standard ES-335. He eventually traded it in for something else (don't remember what, now) and it languished in the used bin for a while and the owner was actually going to trash it. Sold it to me for $75, but wouldn't let me take it out of the store until I was done paying for it (he was cheap, I was broke and even $75 was significant money in those days).

The guitar was covered with gunk including bubble gum and who knows what else, and it had a ding or two (a notable one on the side where the headstock meets the rest of the neck). Naptha helped get all that off, and naptha also helps get old wax off the guitar if you need to do that. Try it out in an inconspicuous place first, of course <G>. Here's the guitar now, missing one E string (the case is gibson, but was essentially cardboard and has fallen apart). This guitar went to Vietnam with me and has been around the world at least twice since then. It's been played like a sumgun, has ultralow action and an arrow-straight neck. There's some mild vertical checking that really isn't visible in these shots. All original.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b149/dspellman/IMG_5889.jpghttp://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b149/dspellman/IMG_5888.jpg

Good God that's gorgeous!!!!

Eric Pykala
06-20-2011, 06:05 PM
65 for maintenance, Virtuoso once a year. Yeah, naptha and car wax works too.